Enjoy a 20% Off discount for Section A and B tickets to our Christmas programs when you use the promo code “ChristmasInJuly” before July 31st!
Byzantine Christmas: The Sun of Justice
Cappella’s Associate Music Director John Michael Boyer directs exhilarating Byzantine chants for Christmastide in Greek, Arabic, and English. Featuring Lebanon-born guest soloist, Rev’d Deacon John (Rassem) El Massih, and the release of a new CD of the program.
Music director Alexander Lingas leads Cappella Romana in a program of early and contemporary music from the Greek Orthodox tradition for the 12 Days of Christmas. Medieval Byzantine chant, choral works by Greek-Americans Frank Desby, Tikey Zes, and Peter MIchaelides, and by Michael Adamis and Sir John Tavener. Originally performed in the Twelfth Night Festival at Trinity Church Wall Street, New York.
Your very own Cappella Romana has had a very good 25th Anniversary year: three European tours (including visits to the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany), a week-long residency at Stanford University in the Bay Area with recording sessions of medieval chant from Hagia Sophia, the Arvo Pärt Festival, and the group’s most ambitious Northwest concert series to date, just to name a few highlights.
A highlight for me this year had to have been during our Arvo Pärt Festival. You may not know that I wrote my master’s thesis many years ago on Pärt’s Kanon Pokajanen, and it was the “Prayer after the Kanon” that still somehow caught me completely off-guard. As Cappella Romana sang the final two “Amens,” it was difficult to imagine in that moment any art more piercing to the heart, more perceptive of the human condition. This unspeakably beautiful music ringing out in the cathedral seemed as if it were only for me.
I’m sure you also could share your own Cappella Romana highlight, whether from a recording or live in concert, and I hope you’ll tell us your stories.
Cappella Romana’s work is not an end in itself, but rather serves a higher purpose: to create beautiful, historically informed, transcendent experiences for you through the music of the Christian East and West. And all of this wouldn’t be possible without your support.
Cappella Romana is reaching more audiences than ever before, providing free access through singing liturgical services, local festivals, radio broadcasts, and other outreach. Your giving now provides the base of support that is critical for taking new risks, making new recordings, and accepting invitations to perform all over the world.
Please make your contribution to our annual fund by June 30th and be part of our next chapter, too.
You can make your gift online or by mailing in the reply card enclosed, or by phone (503-236-8202). Monthly giving is also easy to set up. Thank you.
Mark Powell Executive Director
P.S. Make a gift today to your Cappella Romana. Please also let us know your favorite memory of Cappella Romana when you make your gift. Thank you for your support.
The Red Bull Music Academy features an interview with Cappella Romana’s own Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos and Emma Warren for an exploration of the transcendent impact and contemporary relevance of medieval acoustics:
“‘Kalophonic music was more embellished and abstract,’ explains Antonopoulos. ‘There are entire compositions of just syllables. It’s an evolution where music seems to usurp text for the first time. To me, that demonstrates humans trying to reach this ineffable place, where speech failed. They had to use music.’ This, he says, is an example of humans trying to unify themselves to the cosmos, when speech is no longer sufficient. It’s what devotional music is all about. ‘This change happens when the massive urban basilicas of Late Antiquity begin to yield to smaller domed churches. Did these spaces respond? Did the music respond? We know there’s a relationship.’”
Cappella Romana first performed “Venice in the North” at the 2016 Early Music Festival in Utrecht (Netherlands). Make your April complete with this remarkable music!
An exploration of Russian Orthodox choral works from the Imperial Court Chapel in Saint Petersburg, by the Venetian Classical masters employed there under Catherine the Great.
“Venice in the North” explores revolutionary trends in 17th- and 18th-century Russian sacred music, featuring compositions for Orthodox services by Venetians Giuseppe Sarti and Baldassare Galuppi, and Galuppi’s star Ukrainian student Dmitri Bortnyansky.
Especially in Saint Petersburg, the liturgical arts of architecture, iconography, and singing displayed influence from the Baroque culture of the West, evident in music from the cultivation of Italian and Central European polyphonic styles.
The Tallis Scholars were founded in 1973 by their director, Peter Phillips. Through their recordings and concert performances, they have established themselves as the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world. Peter Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create, through good tuning and blend, the purity and clarity of sound which he feels best serve the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard. It is the resulting beauty of sound for which The Tallis Scholars have become so widely renowned.
The Tallis Scholars perform in both sacred and secular venues, usually giving around 70 concerts each year across the globe. In 2013 the group celebrated their 40th anniversary with a World Tour performing 99 events in 80 venues in 16 countries and travelling sufficient air-miles to circumnavigate the globe four times. They kicked off the year with a spectacular concert in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, including a performance of Thomas Tallis’ 40-part motet Spem in alium and the world premieres of works written specially for them by Gabriel Jackson and Eric Whitacre. Their recording of the Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas by John Taverner, was released on the exact anniversary of their first concert in 1973 and enjoyed six weeks at number one in the UK Specialist Classical Album Chart. On 21st September 2015 the group gave their 2000th concert at St John’s Smith Square in London.
The 2016/2017 season will see the group travelling to Australia, China, USA, Russia, Japan, South Korea, as well as extensive touring around Europe and the UK.
Recordings by The Tallis Scholars have attracted many awards throughout the world. In 1987 their recording of Josquin’s Missa La sol fa re mi and Missa Pange lingua received Gramophone magazine’s Record of the Year award, the first recording of early music ever to win this coveted award. In 1989 the French magazine Diapason gave two of its Diapason d’Or de l’Année awards for the recordings of a mass and motets by Lassus and for Josquin’s two masses based on the chanson L’Homme armé. Their recording of Palestrina’s Missa Assumpta est Maria and Missa Sicut lilium was awarded Gramophone’s Early Music Award in 1991; they received the 1994 Early Music Award for their recording of music by Cipriano de Rore; and the same distinction again in 2005 for their disc of music by John Browne. The Tallis Scholars were nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001, 2009 and 2010. In November 2012 their recording of Josquin’s Missa De beata virgine and Missa Ave maris stella received a Diapason d’Or de l’Année and in their 40th anniversary year they were welcomed into the Gramophone ‘Hall of Fame’ by public vote. In a departure for the group in Spring 2015 The Tallis Scholars released a disc of music by Arvo Pärt called Tintinnabuli which has receive great praise across the board. The latest recording of Josquin masses Missa Di dadi and Missa Une mousse de Biscaye was released in October 2016.
Seattle audiences have the exciting chance to preview our Russian Chant Revival program on Thursday, March 30th during a pre-concert session with the Seattle Symphony in their night devoted to Rachmaninov and his Russian influences! The preview is FREE with a Seattle Symphony ticket. Then, experience the full Russian Chant Revival performance at 7:30pm on Friday night at St. James Cathedral in Seattle!
Russian Chant Revival
The men of Cappella Romana perform music from Vespers, Matins, and the Divine Liturgy in the Slavic tradition, including powerful medieval chants, and choral works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Kastalsky, Chesnokov, and more.
Cappella Romana welcomes new Patron Services Manager!
Cappella Romana welcomes James Bartlett as Patron Services Manager. Bartlett succeeds Cappella Romana’s Operations & Development Manager, Leslie Simmons, who recently accepted a position at the Oregon Symphony.
Bartlett, an experienced leader and project manager in the non-profit arts community, joins Cappella Romana’s staff after six years employed at the Oregon Ballet Theater.
“We are thrilled to welcome James Bartlett to Cappella Romana,” said Mark Powell, Executive Director. “He brings considerable expertise and knowledge to Cappella Romana that will continue to aid its growth and development. At the same time, we are so grateful to Leslie Simmons for her amazing work these past three years and I wish her well in her next chapter.”
Bartlett began his duties as Patron Services Manager on Monday, February 20, 2017. Departing staffer Leslie Simmons concludes her tenure with Cappella Romana on Friday, February 24, 2017.
Film: John Michael Boyer in rehearsal with Cappella Romana
John Michael Boyer
Boyer has been well known to Cappella Romana audiences since 1999, as a regular member of the ensemble, soloist, and guest director. Boyer makes his Cappella Romana début as the ensemble’s new Associate Music Director with this program, having been appointed to that position on January 1, 2017 by Music Director and Founder Alexander Lingas.
Known for his expertise in Byzantine Chant and Orthodox music and liturgy, he lectures at conferences, workshops, and seminars on Eastern Orthodox liturgical music across the United States and abroad. He has served as specialty coach for both Chanticleer and the Minnesota Symphony for world première performances and recordings of works by John Tavener, including Chanticleer’s Grammy-winning recording Lamentations and Praises.
He has conducted operas, chamber music, and orchestral works as associate director of Bay Area Classical Harmonies (BACH), and was artistic director of the vocal chamber ensembles the Josquin Singers and the Metropolis Ensemble of Liturgical Orthodox Singers (MELOS).
John Michael Boyer is Protopsaltis (First Cantor) of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis (Diocese) of San Francisco, and studied Byzantine Chant with Alexander Lingas, Ioannis Arvanitis, and the late Lycourgos Angelopoulos (+2014). He holds a Master in Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a graduate in music from University of California, Berkeley, where he studied choral, orchestral, and operatic conducting with Marika Kuzma and David Milnes.
His latest projects include the CD recording All Creation Trembled from Holy Cross School of Theology, in which he is featured both as composer and as soloist. He is one of six composers who collaborated on the forthcoming release by the St. John of Damascus Society, Psalm 103, a setting of the full text of the Psalm as translated by the late Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash) (+2016), featuring multiple Orthodox musical idioms. In the forthcoming recording, Sun of Justice, John Michael Boyer collaborates with Arab cantor Rassem El Massih, Protopsaltis of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; the recording features Byzantine chant for Christmastide in English, Greek, and Arabic. Boyer’s book Byzantine Chant: the Received Tradition – A Lesson Book is slated to be published in 2017.
These performances are supported by the Finlandia Foundation & Nordic Northwest.
The All-Night Vigil by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016) is unlike any Orthodox music you’ve ever heard, combining ancient and modern modes to create a vast, beautiful mosaic in sound. Glittering with Byzantine-inspired chanting, thick colorful harmonies, and spectacular vocal effects, this Vigil features solo passages for very low bass performed here by Grammy winner basso profundo Glenn Miller.
Like Rachmaninoff’s Vigil (“Vespers”) in Church Slavonic, Rautavaara’s setting in Finnish (inspired by childhood visits to Valaam monastery) cuts a spiritual path that transcends its original context with universal, irresistible power.